Monday, August 23, 2010

Only Child (sad face)

Growing up as an only child, I got lots of comments about how lucky I was: I got my own room, a lot of food, and no hand-me-downs.

When I wondered whether my lack of siblings put me at a social disadvantage, people reassured me: Oh no, no, no! Only children are so confident! So independent!

Well, according to an article I read this weekend, those people were totally lying. Because apparently everyone believes in something called Only Child Syndrome.

I’m noticing that people are becoming a little obsessed with us Only People, and not in a pretty way. Did you see that piece in Time?

A couple of years ago I started writing a lecture called “Hamlet was an Only Child,” which was about how Shakespeare’s only children (Hamlet, Juliet) seem to make poor social decisions compared to the Shakespearean kids who have siblings or cohabit with cousins. Then I trashed the lecture because it made it sound like only kids were destined to be damaged.

But I guess it’s possible that Shakespeare believed in Only Child Syndrome. Too bad my own issues prevent me from pursuing this in any kind of calm, scholarly way.

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